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Province rolls out plans for rural Ontario

The provincial government has laid out its plans to keep rural Ontario sustainable.

The Rural Roadmap outlines government priorities for rural areas, including developing a small, rural and northern municipal infrastructure program that will provide steady funding.

Hawkesbury mayor René Berthiaume says they don't have the tax base to afford the projects on their own.

"To sustain cost of pipes, cost of digging is the same as it is in Toronto," he said. "It's a little more complex in Toronto because of the infrastructure that's there, but the costs are there anyway for the municipalities. It's becoming difficult to maintain that."

Berthiaume said the roadmap puts all of the province's priorities for rural communities in one place. He said it is a more sustained way to stimulate the rural economy.

"This roadmap is not a one-off document fated to collect dust," said Jeff Leal, the Minister of Rural Affairs during an announcement in Embrun Thursday. "It builds upon the conversation our government and our rural partners have inspired. It's based on ideas and successes we heard directly from communities throughout Ontario."

The roadmap would also see the province address gaps in broadband and provide funding for rural-specific health care.

The money, however, is contingent on the May 1st budget being passed.

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